UCLA football works to improve consistency ahead of matchup against Oregon State
Junior wide receiver Jaylen Erwin tallied a career-high seven catches for 63 yards against Arizona on Saturday. Erwin said he is looking to bounce back in the Bruins’ next game against Oregon State, after dropping a potential 40-yard pass in the fourth quarter against the Wildcats. (Tanmay Shankar/Assistant Photo editor)
By Jared Tay
Oct. 1, 2019 4:20 p.m.
The Bruins are searching for some consistency as they prepare for their matchup against the Beavers.
“Our offense is coming around to be a balanced offense,” said junior wide receiver Jaylen Erwin. “It’s going to take one game to put everything together, to show everyone that we really can do it and be consistent – that’s our problem right now. It’s not the coaches or players. We have the talent, it’s just everybody being consistent.”
Erwin said his dropped pass in the fourth quarter of UCLA football’s (1-4, 1-1 Pac-12) 20-17 loss to Arizona (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) on Saturday could have been a game changer. Erwin caught a career-high seven passes for 63 yards, but couldn’t haul in his last target from redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Burton.
That pass attempt was Burton’s first of his career and, had Erwin come up with the catch, it would have been good for a 40 yard gain.
“I know (after) Saturday with my drop, I was just thinking about that play,” Erwin said. “I just know that whenever the ball is thrown to me, I just got to make that play. The ball still touched my hands and that play could have possibly been a jump spark for us to score a touchdown.”
UCLA had one more drive to win or force overtime on the night that saw Burton march the Bruins into Wildcat territory. Burton completed four of six passes during that drive, which ended in a missed field goal.
Erwin said that although his dropped pass was lingering in his mind after the game, he needs to turn his attention to Oregon State and focus on ways to break down its secondary.
“They like to run a lot of man-coverage, so I think we have to take advantage of those opportunities,” Erwin said. “I don’t think that it’s anything we need to change, I feel like every week we prove to everybody that we can do something more.”
Youth in the trenches
Freshman offensive lineman Duke Clemens made his first career appearance against Washington State on Sept. 21, and also appeared against Arizona.
“I just remember it was really loud. I remember having to lock in and say ‘OK, this is it for real,'” Clemens said about his first game action against the Cougars. “It’s not just standing on the sideline, I have to help the team win now.”
Lining up next to fellow true freshman and four-star recruit Sean Rhyan, Clemens said the two first-years have prepared hard to have the opportunity to make an impact for the Bruins.
UCLA rushed for a season-high 217 yards against Arizona, led by redshirt senior running back Joshua Kelley’s 127 yards on the ground. Clemens said the Bruins won’t be resting on their laurels, however, despite the uptick in ground production for coach Chip Kelly’s offense.
“There’s always things to correct,” Clemens said. “The stats may look good on the field but we are never satisfied, even though it was our best rushing game, we still have things to fix.”
Junior defensive lineman Datona Jackson also saw his first game action against Arizona. Jackson transferred to UCLA in January 2019 after playing two seasons at College of the Desert.